Umnqophiso pre-primary school
Education is compulsory for all South Africans starting no later than the year in which they turn seven (Grade 1).
State-funded schools are provided for Grade 1 onwards. Some of these schools have started introducing pre-primary Grade R classes.
The State provides a subsidy for 5/6 year-old children attending Grade R classes.
For the year ending April 2019 this subsidy amounted to R27-00 per child per school day for children in the poorest areas (exchange rate www.xe.com).
Independent Pre-primary schools have to provide buildings, furnishings, educational material, teachers salaries and all other operational costs out of the State subsidy and whatever funds can be raised by school fees, donations and fundraising activities.
Many thousands of children receive no formal pre-primary school education, and enter Grade 1 without, for example, ever holding a pencil or seeing a book, giving them a huge disadvantage before they start.
Llwandle, near Cape Town, has one pre-primary school. Umnqophiso Pre-primary School was started in 1996 in prefabricated buildings by a dedicated pre-primary school teacher living in the community.
After several years of no funding at all, the school obtained a donation which enabled them to build a modern 4-classroom school.
Umnqophiso Pre-Primary is the recognised feeder school for the Umnqophiso Primary school, also in Lwandle, which has an annual enrolment of 180 Grade 1 pupils.
Since 2008 the school has grown steadily and now has eight classrooms, and a hall.
The school has eight qualified teachers (including three teachers qualified with assistance from CUF bursaries) and 240 Grade R pupils enrolled.
The school also runs adult education classes for parents, provides after-hours care for children whose parents are at work, and is used by the education authorities for training Grade R teachers.
For the year ending February 2020 CUF has committed R18000-00 for the annual school fees for children whose parents are unable to pay this cost. CUF will also provide R18 000.00 in stipends for teachers undergoing further training. For more information go to www.umnqophiso.co.za